Fedora 8 Test 3 Is out
Fedora 8 Test 3 has been released a few hours back. Responding to a call for help, I wrote up most of the content for this release announcement which took a surprisingly large amount of time gathering information. Folks in fedora-devel list helped and the feature list is a good improvement. The new feature list and associated process introduced for Fedora 8 development doesn’t cover everything yet though like the new system-config-firewall tool though I am hoping that would get better when more developers start following it and taking advantage of it. It is such a major time saver over having to crawl through thousands and thousands of packages. The sheer amount of work done within Red Hat and by a large number (nearly a thousand on last count) of developers in the volunteer Fedora community to have a new release every 6 months is simple amazing.
5000 Source Packages
We now have over 5000 source packages and over 8300 binary packages in the official Fedora repository. The growth rate is pretty high with dozens of new packages being introduced every week even though every single package has to go through a package review
I send a new announcement to several distributions letting them know about http://smolts.org. Ubuntu folks have responded and have been asking about policies regarding access to data to which a regular data dump has been offered. We will continue working on this.
Fedora Games spin
Work is ongoing on creating the games spin and I have been talking to release engineering and Fedora Project Board about this.
The kickstart file has been changed to inherit the existing configuration of the desktop spin. We are also discussing including some KDE games. While the regular KDE games are unlikely to be added we might very well include some unique ones.
Several new games have been added to the spin including those which use autodownloader. Autodownloader is a wrapper around some of the games to optionally download gaming content on demand.
For example. Quake 3 gaming engine is under the GPL license but the original fully playable demo maps from Id software is not but if can be freely download from online mirrors. Autodownloader makes this process very easy. yum install quake3 and click on the quake 3 menu option under games and it will prompt you to download the gaming content from one of the online mirrors and then offer to launch the game. Click on start and viola, you can be having fun. As simple as that. I have requested a icon for this via the awesome design service from the Fedora artwork team.
An additional wrapper is under opengl-games-utils. It checks whether 3D acceleration is possible and promotes usage of Free software with open drivers if not. The purpose of this is to prevent the user from accidentally launching a 3D game without any drivers installed for acceleration which makes even quitting the game sometimes difficult as you watch the mouse cursor move in a snail pace or in a jerky fashion across your screen. We also take this as a opportunity to gently guide the users towards hardware with open specifications or drivers. With Intel cards already working this way and the recent ATI announcement and drivers, Nvidia is the odd man out still promoting proprietary graphical drivers with no specifications that the nouveau project driver which Fedora already installs by default (but doesn’t enable by default yet) has to painfully reverse engineer. Hopefully we can get great support for all graphical cards including 3D acceleration with Free software within Fedora soon.
Fedora XFCE spin!
I have talked to a few XFCE folks about creating a new XFCE spin since they are interested but too busy to work on that. With the new process for creating custom spins that don’t necessary have to follow the regular release schedule for Fedora, we might have a XFCE spin even as early as Fedora 8!.
Indian Mirrors for Fedora
The efforts to get more Indian mirrors are starting to pay off with a new mirror announced yesterday. I have also dropped in a mail to IIT Mumbai following IIT Chennai and Debarshi Ray has been talking to his college administration too. With good luck, they will realize the promoting Free software in educational organizations has a long history with a mutual benefit and continue with that culture.